Thematic Sequences

Muslim schoolchildren of different races mug for the camera
 A Buddhist monk sits in front of a temple, talking on a mobile phone while consulting papers held on his lap
 A woman at a political rally holds a miniature US flag and a sign that reads Stand for Religious Freedom
 Afro-Cuban dances in colorful costumes prepare to perform a rite
 Jewish women wearing prayer shawls are escorted away from a religious protest by police
 Individuals wearing drag that resembles the habits of Catholic nuns hold hands at a public demonstration

If you would like to take more than just a single course on religion, but not an entire minor or major, consider one our department's Thematic Sequences:

  • REL 1: Religion in American Life
  • REL 2: Thinking through Problems in Religion

Note:  REL 101, a Miami Plan Foundation course, also counts as the first step in either of our Thematic Sequences. So if you've already taken REL 101, you need to take only two more courses to complete the Thematic Sequence of your choice.

What does a Thematic Sequence in religion give you for the job market?

  • Exposes you to religious traditions that may inform the identities of your future colleagues or clients.
  • Gives you basic tools for analyzing and discussing—in professionally appropriate ways—issues, challenges, or opportunities in your field of work that arise from religion.
  • Prepares you for work and leadership in a diverse world by giving you practice at engaging empathetically with beliefs, values, and cultural practices different from your own.
  • Provides you with 9 credit hours of coursework designed to develop your skills in writing, critical reading, critical thinking, inquiry & analysis, and intercultural competence.

What is the basic difference between REL 1 and REL 2?

Side-by-side comparison
REL 1:
Religion in American Life
REL 2:
Thinking through Problems in Religion
Focuses on religions in the US. Gives you the option to focus on a religion outside the US.
Provides more exposure to a diversity of religious traditions. Provides more formal instruction in theories and methods for studying religion.

Other options to consider

How does a Thematic Sequence compare with a minor or major in the study of religion? Compare them side by side.

Religion in American Life

Provides you with background knowledge and intellectual tools for understanding the diverse religious landscape in the US and religion's impact on American culture.

Although the levels in the Thematic Sequence are intended to build on one another, you could complete them in any order.

Level 1

You gain foundational knowledge in how to analyze and discuss religion in ways appropriate for secular professional settings.

REL 101 - Introduction to the Study of Religion

Introduces you to the study of religion as a dimension of human culture. Each professor who teaches this course builds their sections around a thematic and methodological framework that reflects their area of expertise.

Level 2

You take a course that acquaints you with multiple religions in the US. Choose one of the following:

REL 241 - Religions of the American Peoples

Provides an introductory survey of how diverse religious or spiritual traditions practiced in the United States shape the lives of adherents, in areas including diet, dress, sexuality, health, finances, holidays, and life transitions.

REL 342 - Religious Pluralism in Modern America

Examines selected topics (these vary by semester) related to minority religions in the United States today. Students gain theoretical perspective on minority religious experience and/or social challenges occasioned by religious diversity.

REL 345 - Women, Religion, and Social Change in America

Explores various ways in which women in the U.S. have lifted their voices, engaged with social issues, and constructed their communities and individual identities through religious institutions and frameworks.

Level 3

You look more closely at one tradition or "stream" within American religion. Choose one of the following:

REL 341 - Protestantism and the Development of American Culture

Examines the history and symbol systems of American Protestantism and their role in shaping the norms and practices of American society.

REL 343 - African American Religions

Surveys the formation and expression of African American religions, from slavery to the present. Includes Christian and Islamic formations, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions.

REL 346 - Issues in the Study of Native American Religions

Focuses on the methods by which Native American religions have been studied and represented, together with ways in which these methods and representations have been critiqued.

Thinking through Problems in Religion

Trains you to think critically about the ways religions shape and are shaped by social contexts. Familiarizes you with major theories and methods for studying religion and gives you the opportunity to apply them to specific religious traditions.

Although the levels in the Thematic Sequence are intended to build on one another, you could complete them in any order—with the caveat that you must be a sophomore before you can take REL 201 (level 2 of the sequence).

Level 1

You gain foundational knowledge in how to analyze and discuss religion in ways appropriate for secular professional settings.

REL 101 - Introduction to the Study of Religion

Introduces you to the study of religion as a dimension of human culture. Each professor who teaches this course builds their sections around a thematic and methodological framework that reflects their area of expertise.

Level 2

You are formally introduced to major theories and methods that have been used in the academic study of religion.

REL 201 - Methods for the Study of Religion

Introduces you to classical and contemporary theories of the nature, origin, and function of religion in human society. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Level 3

You apply academic theories and methods as you study issues within a specific religious tradition. Choose one of the following:

REL 223 - Introduction to Buddhism

Explores the development of Buddhism in India and South Asia. As Buddhism spread to Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, how did it change—and how was it changed by—those regions' cultures?

REL 286 - Global Jewish Civilization

Explores the long history of encounters between Jews and the various cultures around the globe in which they have lived, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America. How did the Jewish people persist over the course of 3000 years?

REL 343 - African American Religions

Surveys the formation and expression of African American religions, from slavery to the present. Includes Christian and Islamic formations, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions.

REL 355 - Religion and Law

Uses case studies from the US and elsewhere in the world to examine how law and religion are used to construct, challenge, and complicate identities.

REL 385 - Jewish-Christian Relations

Traces the religious roots of anti-Semitism in Christian societies, beginning with the New Testament, through the Church Fathers and Reformers, and beyond.

Overview

What does a Thematic Sequence in religion give you for the job market?

  • Exposes you to religious traditions that may inform the identities of your future colleagues or clients.
  • Gives you basic tools for analyzing and discussing—in professionally appropriate ways—issues, challenges, or opportunities in your field of work that arise from religion.
  • Prepares you for work and leadership in a diverse world by giving you practice at engaging empathetically with beliefs, values, and cultural practices different from your own.
  • Provides you with 9 credit hours of coursework designed to develop your skills in writing, critical reading, critical thinking, inquiry & analysis, and intercultural competence.

What is the basic difference between REL 1 and REL 2?

Side-by-side comparison
REL 1:
Religion in American Life
REL 2:
Thinking through Problems in Religion
Focuses on religions in the US. Gives you the option to focus on a religion outside the US.
Provides more exposure to a diversity of religious traditions. Provides more formal instruction in theories and methods for studying religion.

Other options to consider

How does a Thematic Sequence compare with a minor or major in the study of religion? Compare them side by side.

REL 1

Religion in American Life

Provides you with background knowledge and intellectual tools for understanding the diverse religious landscape in the US and religion's impact on American culture.

Although the levels in the Thematic Sequence are intended to build on one another, you could complete them in any order.

Level 1

You gain foundational knowledge in how to analyze and discuss religion in ways appropriate for secular professional settings.

REL 101 - Introduction to the Study of Religion

Introduces you to the study of religion as a dimension of human culture. Each professor who teaches this course builds their sections around a thematic and methodological framework that reflects their area of expertise.

Level 2

You take a course that acquaints you with multiple religions in the US. Choose one of the following:

REL 241 - Religions of the American Peoples

Provides an introductory survey of how diverse religious or spiritual traditions practiced in the United States shape the lives of adherents, in areas including diet, dress, sexuality, health, finances, holidays, and life transitions.

REL 342 - Religious Pluralism in Modern America

Examines selected topics (these vary by semester) related to minority religions in the United States today. Students gain theoretical perspective on minority religious experience and/or social challenges occasioned by religious diversity.

REL 345 - Women, Religion, and Social Change in America

Explores various ways in which women in the U.S. have lifted their voices, engaged with social issues, and constructed their communities and individual identities through religious institutions and frameworks.

Level 3

You look more closely at one tradition or "stream" within American religion. Choose one of the following:

REL 341 - Protestantism and the Development of American Culture

Examines the history and symbol systems of American Protestantism and their role in shaping the norms and practices of American society.

REL 343 - African American Religions

Surveys the formation and expression of African American religions, from slavery to the present. Includes Christian and Islamic formations, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions.

REL 346 - Issues in the Study of Native American Religions

Focuses on the methods by which Native American religions have been studied and represented, together with ways in which these methods and representations have been critiqued.

REL 2

Thinking through Problems in Religion

Trains you to think critically about the ways religions shape and are shaped by social contexts. Familiarizes you with major theories and methods for studying religion and gives you the opportunity to apply them to specific religious traditions.

Although the levels in the Thematic Sequence are intended to build on one another, you could complete them in any order—with the caveat that you must be a sophomore before you can take REL 201 (level 2 of the sequence).

Level 1

You gain foundational knowledge in how to analyze and discuss religion in ways appropriate for secular professional settings.

REL 101 - Introduction to the Study of Religion

Introduces you to the study of religion as a dimension of human culture. Each professor who teaches this course builds their sections around a thematic and methodological framework that reflects their area of expertise.

Level 2

You are formally introduced to major theories and methods that have been used in the academic study of religion.

REL 201 - Methods for the Study of Religion

Introduces you to classical and contemporary theories of the nature, origin, and function of religion in human society. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Level 3

You apply academic theories and methods as you study issues within a specific religious tradition. Choose one of the following:

REL 223 - Introduction to Buddhism

Explores the development of Buddhism in India and South Asia. As Buddhism spread to Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, how did it change—and how was it changed by—those regions' cultures?

REL 286 - Global Jewish Civilization

Explores the long history of encounters between Jews and the various cultures around the globe in which they have lived, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America. How did the Jewish people persist over the course of 3000 years?

REL 343 - African American Religions

Surveys the formation and expression of African American religions, from slavery to the present. Includes Christian and Islamic formations, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions.

REL 355 - Religion and Law

Uses case studies from the US and elsewhere in the world to examine how law and religion are used to construct, challenge, and complicate identities.

REL 385 - Jewish-Christian Relations

Traces the religious roots of anti-Semitism in Christian societies, beginning with the New Testament, through the Church Fathers and Reformers, and beyond.

Photo credits

Children by Flickr user Shazron, licensed under CC BY 2.0; cropped from original.

modern monk by Flickr user Eric Brochu, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0; cropped from original.

Buffalo Religious Freedom Rally by Flickr user The Station of the Cross, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0; cropped from original.

Afro-Cuban Dance 1 by Flickr user Brian Godfrey, licensed under CC BY 2.0; cropped from original.

Women challenge gender segregation at the Wailing Wall by Flickr user Tal King, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0; cropped from original.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Pioneer Courthouse Square Ritual (08-11-2011) by Flickr user Just Out, licensed under CC BY 2.0; rotated and cropped from original.